News

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol via flickr

In March the New Mexico state Legislature unanimously passed a bill that would basically eliminate what critics call “policing for profit,” the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize cars, cash and other property police say were used in committing a crime. The practice originated in the 1980s as a tool to fight back against big drug dealers, but civil liberties groups on the right and left of the political spectrum say the lure of big money has now corrupted government agencies, who use the law to pad their coffers.

Guests:

Michael Dorausch / michaeldorausch.com

New Mexico Gov Signs Bill To Ban E-Cigarette Sales To MinorsThe Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation banning the sales of e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid containers to minors in New Mexico.

Sen. John Ryan's bill also requires those containers to be sold in child resistant packaging and prohibits online sales to minors.

The Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Republican says the products are dangerous.

He says nicotine is "addictive and harmful" and can be the "gateway to a lifelong addiction."

Courtesy San Juan's Citizen Alliance

On Wednesday, a Public Regulation Commission hearing examiner recommended against part of PNM’s energy replacement plan for 132 megawatts of coal-generated electricity.

PNM has been looking for a way to replace the energy that will be lost when two coal burning stacks at the San Juan Generating Station are shut down in 2017.

Contreleurope via CC

New Mexico still had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. last year, but the good news is that it’s declining—here and in the rest of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a recommendation this week for how to drop the rate even further.

Dick DeMarsico / World Telegram & Sun, Wikimedia Commons

Efforts To Rename Hobbs Street After MLK Hits SnagThe Associated Press and Hobbs News-Sun

Despite vocal support a Hobbs official says the southeastern New Mexico city has not received any formal request to rename a portion of a busy street in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that Hobbs development director Kevin Robinson made the announcement this week at a city commissioners meeting, putting the future of the renaming in doubt.

Courtesy San Juan's Citizen Alliance

Albuquerque Withdrawing Support For San Juan Plan - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque City Council has withdrawn its support for a plan to replace part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico.

The resolution passed last night states the city supports an agreement reached by federal officials, Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and Public Service Co. of New Mexico to shut down part of the San Juan Generating Station in an effort to reduce haze-causing pollution.

Atomicarchive.com via WikiMedia Commons

Thousands Visit Trinity On Anniversary Of Bomb Explosion - The Associated Press and Alamogordo Daily News

Thousands of visitors converged Saturday on the New Mexico site where the first nuclear bomb was detonated nearly 70 years ago.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports White Sands Missile Range officials say more than 5,500 people attended the first of two tours being offered at the Trinity Site this year.

Visitors came from all over the U.S. and included several documentary crews.

hugovk via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Fired Albuquerque Officer Faces Excessive Force Lawsuit - The Associated Press

A former Albuquerque police officer, who fatally shot a 19-year-old woman last year and was fired for insubordination, is being sued for excessive force in another case.

Lawyers for Dennis Shoemaker filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque last week against Jeremy Dear stemming from a 2013 arrest.

Wild Earth Guardians via flickr

Mora County was the first county in the United States to ban the practice of fracking. But, last week, commissioners there unanimously voted to overturn the ban.

Last week’s vote repealed a 2013 ordinance passed by the county commission that said fracking was a violation of the community’s right to clean air and water.

The public comment period ends Saturday, April 4, about an asphalt plant that could go in near a wildlife reserve in the South Valley. Albuquerque Asphalt applied for a permit to build at hot-mix asphalt plant, and neighbors are concerned that the site for the plant is too close to the Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge. It’s a little more than half a mile away.

www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/

Every spring, the City of Albuquerque commemorates its founding in 1706 with live performances representing the City's cultural heritage.  Musician and historian Chuy Martinez, Events Supervisor for the Cultural Services Department, discusses how he has organized the musical performances for this year's Fiestas de Albuquerque, which will be offered free to the community on Saturday afternoon, April 18, in Histori

Keith Weller, Dept. of Agriculture, WikiMedia Commons

New Mexico Regulators To Hold Dairy Hearing – Associated Press

The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission is planning a public hearing to consider changes to the state's dairy regulations.

The hearing will start Monday afternoon in Roswell. Officials say it's possible the proceeding could last all week and more meetings could be scheduled in other parts of the state.

Rita Daniels

People dropped off children’s books by the carload Thursday at a bus stop on Albuquerque’s west side.

The goal was to literally stuff a city bus with tens of thousands of kids’ books as part of the Discover a Book program. They will be used to resupply the cubby of free books found on all of Albuquerque’s buses.

Nick Manole works with ABQ Ride and says since they started putting kids’ books on the buses almost 10 years ago they realized that many adults were reading them, too.

Intel Free Press / Wikimedia Commons

KUNM Call In Show 4/2 8a:

With high rates of illnesses like diabetes or addiction, rural New Mexicans have some of the most pressing medical needs in the state. But those same residents have the most trouble getting the health care they need. We'll dig into the health needs in rural New Mexico and explore how the Internet is being used to fill some gaps.

We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show. 

Guests: 

Skarz via Creative Commons

DA: Albuquerque Police Sitting On Shooting Investigations – Associated Press

Albuquerque’s district attorney, who recently sought murder charges against two police officers, says police aren't sending her information on other shootings to review.

Kari Brandenburg sent Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden a letter this week asking about 13 investigations into police shootings her office is waiting to review. She says some of the investigations are 17 months old.

Karen Roe via Compfight

Watering restrictions are officially in effect for many New Mexicans.

Starting Wednesday, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority customers are prohibited from using sprinklers between 11a and 7p. 

Katherine Yuhas, Water Conservation Officer at the utility, said predictions for a moist spring and summer mean they could bank water in the aquifer by leaving it in the ground instead of pumping it.

Auntie P. via Compfight CC

The weather’s warming up, but flu season’s not quite over. Even if you already had the flu this season, if you feel ill, you could have it again. A second virus is making its way around New Mexico. 

Atomicarchive.com via WikiMedia Commons

Trinity Test Site Opening To Face Protest From Residents – by Russell Contreras, Associated Press

Seven decades after an atomic bomb helped end World War II, families in New Mexico's Tularosa Basin want tourists to know nearby residents later suffered from health problems.

Protesters are planning a demonstration this weekend as the Trinity Test site opens to visitors.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders, says a bomb tested at the site later caused rare forms of cancer for many residents in the area.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

An Arizona nonprofit that came to New Mexico after the 2013 behavioral health shakeup called it quits on March 31 after less than two years. 

Turquoise Health and Wellness was the main provider of mental health and substance abuse treatment to several cities in Southeast New Mexico. Not anymore. Human Services Department spokesperson Matt Kennicott said since the company gave its 90-day closure notice, the state has been working with communities to find replacements.

Wavy1 via Compfight

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief passenger train route through northeastern New Mexico will not be altered. The train is the economic lifeline for many people in the affected service area.

Raton Mayor Sandy Mantz says Amtrak’s decision not to stop service is wonderful news, because every summer thousands of passengers arrive in town by train and are responsible for almost half the yearly sales at local shops.

inlandwest via Flickr

Labor Officials: New Mexico, West Texas Workers Underpaid The Associated Press

Federal labor officials say oil and natural gas workers in New Mexico and West Texas have been underpaid by more than $1.3 million.

The U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division made the announcement Monday. The findings stem from an enforcement initiative launched by the division last year.

Officials say overtime violations led to the underpayment of some 1,300 workers.

artotem via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Nuclear Enrichment Plant OK'd For Expansion – Associated Press

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given its approval for URENCO USA to expand its nuclear enrichment facility east of Eunice.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that the panel gave the OK last week on URENCO's most recent license amendment application.

That means URENCO can double its capacity over the course of two more phases beyond the current three-phase $4 billion facility.

Steve Terrell via flickr

New Mexico Governor Has Until April 10 To Sign BillsThe Associated Press 

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has until April 10 to act on bills passed during the just-concluded 60-day legislative session.

The bills she doesn't sign by then will be considered pocket vetoed.

Martinez had signed five and vetoed one as of Friday afternoon.

New Mexico lawmakers passed 191 bills during this session. The Albuquerque Journal reports that's the lowest number for a 60-day session since 1949.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NM Officials: Flu Sickened More This Year; Season Not OverThe Associated Press

New Mexico health officials are warning that the flu season is not over.

Officials say more people have been hospitalized in the state this season than in many years.

According to the state Department of Health, the virus hospitalized 40 people per 100,000 this flu season as compared with 29 per 100,000 during 2012-13.

Children under 5 and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

NMPBS

The risk of developing cancer tends to be lower for Native Americans and Hispanics in New Mexico. But people in these communities tend to be diagnosed at later stages, when the chances of dying are greater.

This month on Public Square from New Mexico PBS – efforts to take early screening for cancer into the communities that need it.

Here, host Megan Kamerick talks with Dr. Gayle Dine Chacón, medical director at Sandia Pueblo, and Elba Saavedra , director of Comadre a Comadre at UNM.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

After less than two years serving southeastern New Mexico, a behavioral health provider will shutter its programs on March 31, leaving hundreds without services.

What does this mean for Roswell and its courts, which were ordering offenders into treatment there?

Judge Freddie Romero presides over the drug court for juveniles in Chaves County. It’s not what you might imagine. The judge is warm and friendly. The kids who approach the podium with their parents in tow are everyday teenagers—jeans, T shirts, the occasional piercing.

Bernalillo County commissioners did not vote on whether to approve a controversial development plan at a hearing Thursday, instead scheduling additional time for public comments later this year.

Developers say the Santolina Master Plan community could someday be home to as many as 90,000 people.

Opponents spoke at a hearing this week in an effort to convince commissioners to vote down the plan. Many said Santolina would take away needed water resources in Albuquerque's South Valley.

What Grows In The Garden

Mar 26, 2015
bknabel via Flickr / Creative Commons License

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, commentator Andrea Mays had some thoughts about the legacies she’s inherited from women in history.

They’re like important books, she says. They present themselves when we least expect them and when we need them most.

Andrea Mays is an American Studies scholar. She lives in Santa Fe. Her bi-monthly column, Here's The Thing, is published by the Santa Fe Reporter. You can read the full length piece here.  

Rita Daniels

The Bernalillo County Commission kicked off hearings Wednesday on a huge proposed development southwest of Albuquerque.

Tractors cruised through downtown Albuquerque on their way to city hall where the commission began hearing testimony on the Santolina plan to build 38,000 new homes over the next four or five decades.

Arianna Sena

Transparency Bills A Casualty In NM Legislative Session - The Associated Press

Open government advocates say it wasn't a good legislative session for boosting transparency as lobbying disclosure and campaign finance bills failed.

Of about a dozen bills — from requiring independent groups to disclose campaign donations to a two-year break for legislators who turn lobbyist — only a couple of measures made it to Gov. Susana Martinez's desk.

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